Sanity, At Long Last
April 15, 2005
To the Editor:
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you!
Finally a voice of sanity in a clearly insane world. I truly believe that Lori Ortiz is the only critic in New York City who understood what James Kudelka was doing in “The Contract” (“Ambiguity in a Children’s Tale,” Apr. 7-13).
Please, please forward her review to John Rockwell at the New York Times—because one of his many problems with this ballet was “… it poses more questions than it answers.” How sad that he should even write dance criticism.
My admiration and respect to Ms. Ortiz for her willingness to think.
Manhattan The Realities of Gay Filmmaking
April 13, 2005
To the Editor:
I have never felt the need to write a Letter to the Editor in response to a review before, but the review for “Eating Out” was a supreme injustice (“Switch Hitting,” by David Noh, Apr. 7-13).
I found the movie entertaining, which is more than I can say about many gay-themed films I see. I also thought that the creative team did an amazing job of getting a coherent feature film done for only $50,000. People with no experience in filmmaking may not realize how pathetically little that is. I would wager that the “ridiculous” 17-minute phone-sex scene and other examples of “crude” direction came about not because of artistic choices, but because of budgetary constrictions.
We have to understand that straight people won’t come see movies that depict gay people as sexual beings and show real sex scenes and frontal nudity, as this film does. Because of this, the limited return of a strictly gay-only audience means that the budget for such films must be kept low in order to make these movies fiscally viable.
I’m not saying that we must love every gay movie that comes along simply because it’s gay. I do feel, however, that allowances must be made to accommodate the reality of getting a gay independent feature made. Is “Eating Out” a masterpiece? No. But even while acknowledging its faults, at the least it’s a harmless diversion and a fun little date movie. For the people who care enough to support independent gay cinema, I think that point should have been emphasized.
Long Island City The Christian Gay Diva
April 22, 2005
To the Editor:
Kristin Chenoweth is being an example of a person of faith and conviction in front of “The 700 Club”’s cameras where she can be an example of a tolerant Christian to those that are not (“Kristin Chenoweth’s Gospel Journey,” Apr. 7-13). I can’t see her doing much more than she did at that time to try and change minds. After all, a religious zealot’s money is just as good as a drag queen’s.
It’s unfair to put the weight of the bigotry of Christian conservatives on Chenoweth’s back. I’ve conceived of many ways that the LGBT community could take it upon themselves to do outreach—and it’s been a surprise that it hasn’t been done.
San Diego, CA More On Benedict XVI
April 27, 2005
To the Editor:
About a week before Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger’s elevation to Pope Benedict XVI, by accident I met two friends of mine who are both gay Catholic priests at a gallery opening on 57th Street (“No Benediction, Dark Days Ahead,” by Paul Schindler, Apr. 21-27). Thinking that these two might have some inside dope on the subject, I asked them if they had any bets going on who was going to be the next pope. One of them looked straight at me and said, “Well, we know who’s not going to be the next pope.”
I paused, then shot back what was first in my head: “You mean Ratzinger?”
They both looked at me, smiled, then the first priest said, “Yes. He’s too hated. Too many people don’t like him. But he’s very powerful.”
And the second priest said, “Yes, people are scared of him.”
I guess my priest friends were dead wrong in their first statement, but certainly able to explain what happened with the second. Ratzinger has been working with what remains of the Office of the Inquisition for decades. What is to be feared about him is not what he says publicly, but what he is able to maneuver privately.
April 22, 2005
Letter to the Editor
I am responding to William Berger’s article “Why Benedict XVI Matters” (Apr. 21-27). I understand that Cardinal Ratzinger, now Benedict XVI, is no friend of the LGBT community. I was very disappointed with his election. Like so many Catholics, I had hoped for a unifier. But I don’t think the sky is falling because of his election. Nor, on the other hand, do I think the world is going to end because Spain is progressing with gay marriage.
All across Europe, the Catholic Church is declining. Member states of the European Union are required to implement non-discrimination measures. Ireland is one of the most Catholic countries in the EU, but like Spain it is seeing a drastic decline in church attendance, as is Germany and Italy. However, the church is experiencing rapid growth in Africa and losing ground in South America to the Pentecostal church. Here in the U.S., we believe in democracy and that is one major headache for the Vatican. As if that were not enough, the Vatican is financially in the red. And there are other pressing issues this pope will need to address. Sure, the Vatican will try scapegoating our community, but we are finally read for that.
The clergy sex abuse scandal is the earthquake that has finally woke up the Catholic laity. Change is taking place in the church, and it is beginning at the parish level and working its way up. My parish experience allows me to have a lot of hope for the process of change in my lifetime.
Pope Benedict XVI is irrelevant to the LGBT community. Why? Because if the pope’s language continues to be homophobic he will only isolate himself from reasonable people and people of goodwill.
I believe we are a resurrection people and are always open to individuals changing their course. Let us wait. He who walks into the papacy as a conservative may sit on the chair of Peter as a reformer. Pope John XXIII comes to mind.
While we wait to see if Pope Benedict XVI is a reformer or the number one enemy of the LGBT community, I would invite William Berger and other people of good will to join with the Rainbow Sash Movement as we enter cathedrals and parishes across the nation wearing a Rainbow Sashes. This symbol is a sign of who we are, and our joy in celebrating this wonderful celebration of Pentecost on Sunday, May 15, which is a celebration of inclusion not exclusion.
U.S. convener, Rainbow Sash Movement
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